Apollo-Gaia Project

Director: David Wasdell


"Beyond the Summit"

Sensitivity, Target Temperature & the Carbon Budget

Timed to coincide with the publication of the Synthesis Report of the IPCC AR5 in Copenhagen, the document was formally tabled two days later at the 18th Annual Conference on Climate Change held at Chatham House in London. The presentation was initially delivered in video-conference just 20 hours after the close of the Climate Summit 2014 convened in New York by Ban Ki-moon.
The presentation is offered in twin-media. The re-mastered video-recording is supported by the comprehensively illustrated PDF which can be used separately or in combination.
The video is accessed by clicking on the head-shot of David Wasdell, which opens the OnSync video conference platform. No additional software needs to be downloaded for users of the Windows platform, although tablet users may have to download a free app. The pdf is accessed by clicking on the title slide.

Executive Summary

The multi-dimensional scientific analysis at the heart of this ground-breaking presentation relates Earth System Sensitivity to the total cumulative carbon emissions since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The equilibrium temperature increase, implicit for all values of carbon emissions, is mapped from 1950 through the present and into an uncertain future. Target temperature is treated as a variable to be reduced as low as necessary to "avoid dangerous anthropogenic disturbance" of the planetary climate. The value of the available carbon budget is seen to collapse into a major overshoot as the paper sets the parameters for a realistic reassessment of the grossly inadequate goals currently embedded in the international negotiations on climate change.
Strategically, the termination of carbon emissions together with all other activity that increases the radiative imbalance of the planet is seen as a necessary but not sufficient response to climate change. That strategy must now be widened to include the additional intervention of massive reduction in the stock of atmospheric CO2 by all means at our disposal.
For purposes of communication the six-dimensional scientific analysis is embedded in a bi-cameral carrier introducing some twelve visual motifs, ranging from Himalayan journey to the survival of Apollo-13, from the dream of Martin Luther King through the abolition of slavery to the breaking of addiction, from Greek mythology to the unmasking of bull-elephants rampaging unnoticed through the corridors of impotence at the New York climate Summit.
The presentation dares to break the taboo protecting the two-fold mantra of the 2oC target and the 250 gigatonnes of available carbon emissions. If the Climate Summit 2014 was designed to bring together current global leaders, "Beyond the Summit" evokes the contribution of nine historical giants (the ring carriers!) ranging from the warrior mentality of fight leadership to the towering contributions of physical triumph and collaborative working that have shaped our civilisation. Finally the realistic balance is consummated in an inspirational epilogue that pilots a course between unrealistic hope and the paranoid ground of paralysing despair.
The Table of Contents of the pdf correlates the pagination of the PDF with the timed sequence of the video-recording, and is reproduced here for information.